These pan-roasted gnocchi are delicate Italian potato dumplings sautéed with mushrooms and sage in a butter sauce. A comforting, yet impressive meal.
On a recent trip back to Villa Roncalli, I saw Luisa Scolastra make gnocchi à la minute. I was blown away at how speedily she turned a pot of skinned boiled potatoes into a snake of gnocchi, then into bite-size pillows. One of the cardinal rules of the Scolastra family is to use what you have. This recipe relies on foraged mushrooms, but you can use any that you find in a farmers’ market. The caramelization of the mushrooms and the crust of the pan-roasted gnocchi are textural nuances that bring an entirely new sensation to this classic dish.–Donna Lennard
☞ Table of Contents
What’s the best potato for gnocchi?
Russet. Not a lot else to say. Don’t substitute a different potato as the moisture content will be different and will skew the consistency of the resulting gnocchi and not in a good way.
Pan-Roasted Gnocchi with Mushrooms
- 1 1/2 cups coarse sea salt
- 2 pounds large russet potatoes
- 2 cups 00 flour plus more for the work surface
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt plus additional to taste
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 6 tablespoons (3 oz) unsalted butter plus more for finishing
- 8 ounces mixed wild mushrooms cleaned, trimmed, and torn into large pieces
- 8 sage leaves roughly torn
- 2 small (2 oz) shallots finely diced
- 3 ounces grated Parmigiano plus additional shavings for garnish
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- On a rimmed baking sheet, scatter the sea salt and place the potatoes on the salt. Roast until fork tender, 45 to 60 minutes. Let cool.
- Peel the potatoes and pass them through the finest setting of a ricer directly onto a lightly-floured work surface.
☞TESTER TIP: If you don’t have a ricer, a box grater will work well in its place.
- In a small bowl, mix the flour and the fine sea salt. Sprinkle over top of the potatoes. Drizzle the egg on top. Slowly cut into the dough with a bench scraper and continue until fully incorporated. Knead the mass gently until the outside is slightly crumbly, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a 24-inch-long (60-cm) rope about 1/2-inch (12-mm) thick. Cut into 3/4- to 1-inch (18-to 24-cm) pieces, dust with flour, and arrange in a single layer on a lightly floured rimmed baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the freezer for at least 3 hours or, for best results, overnight.
- Remove the gnocchi from the freezer. Working with 2 sauté pans or skillets over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in each pan. Once the butter begins to foam, add half the gnocchi to each pan and cook untouched until a golden-brown crust starts to form, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Divide the mushrooms, sage, and shallots between the pans and cook, tossing gently, until the mushrooms are just softened, 2 to 4 minutes.
- Add a splash of water, 1 tablespoon of butter, and half the Parmigiano to each pan, remove from heat, and toss until glazed. If the gnocchi seem dry, add more butter, 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Divvy the gnocchi and mushrooms among 4 bowls and then top with pepper to taste and a few shavings of Parmigiano.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This dish does take some time and effort, but the end result is well worth it. It is flavorful and visually appealing. Because you make and form the gnocchi and then freeze it, this is an excellent dish to make for guests. All of the work and the “mess” are done ahead. When you are ready to serve it, it comes together quickly.
The butter and olive oil, along with the mix of wild mushrooms and shallots makes a perfect, flavorful “sauce” that complements the gnocchi well. Served with a mixed green salad and freshly baked bread, this was a very satisfying meal. This could probably serve 6 unless you have really big eaters!
While it wasn’t nearly as erotic as Godfather III might lead one to believe, rolling these out is so much fun! This is definitely a recipe to utilize mise en place—the pasta steps are fairly quick (and a little messy) and the finished dish comes together in a flash, though I did add a few extra minutes of cooking time to make sure the gnocchi didn’t have a doughy taste.
I’ve been working on my gnocchi skills for a while now and thought I was getting somewhere. Then this recipe shows up and turns what little knowledge I have right on it’s head. Since when do you use russet potatoes? Since now, I say.
These gnocchi didn’t even have a chance to get gummy or gluey. Russets are drier and by baking them in the oven, on a bed of salt, as it ensures that there’s no added moisture in the dough. And that.. it turns out, is the secret. Why am I just finding this out now?
Then pan-frying until crisp, with mushrooms and butter until it all turns gloriously browned? Heck yes. I used baby bellas and a few oyster mushrooms that I’ve recently been growing in my kitchen. Adding fresh sage and a handful of Parmesan, this dish takes gnocchi up a level and then some.
The concept is delicious and definitely deserving of some glory. The gnocchi come together beautifully and simply, and the combination of mushrooms, shallots, sautéed sage, and Parmigiano, along with the golden puffs of potato makes for a dish that is richly satisfying.
That said, consider this a provisional endorsement. There were a few elements of the instructions that didn’t work as well as they should have, so I’d offer a few suggestions to increase the recipe’s success.
The fat/liquid levels in the final step aren’t adequate (also more on this below), so I’d increase the oil/butter at the start of the sauté and also the ‘splash of water’ at the end. That water could also maybe be stock?
I found that there was no extra fat. In fact, I added a tablespoon more of oil while sautéing the gnocchi-mushroom-shallot-sage mixture, as the skillet was almost dry after the browning of the gnocchi. So…maybe a little bit more oil or butter added at the beginning?
I added the butter, a very generous splash of water (1/4 cup) and half of the recommended amount of Parmigiano and the mixture came together beautifully, glazing the gnocchi with a thin but silky sauce. I didn’t need to use the full amount of cheese—it seemed like too much. There was not a lot of sauce, per se.
The timing was good. I was even surprised, that it was working so well. Maybe I was measuring the wrong amount of flour but I needed to add and add, so this took me the most of the time. To avoid this, I have just ordered measuring cups, which I saw people use in the US.
I didn’t read through the recipe prior, so mine were only an hour in the fridge, not even in the freezer, but they still seemed okay. Once I put them into the pan with the butter, they turned a delicious golden-brown but there wasn’t a lot of extra fat left.
After adding the water and more butter, it was too much fat for me ..but I still felt that I needed some sauce. I made another portion with some sauce (reduced from broth and white wine). I liked it more…but that’s just me! It makes 4, maybe 5 portions with some salad.
Originally published February 18, 2021